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Government must name date for referendum on extending voting rights to 16

15 December, 2014

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has said the time is now for the Irish Government to name a date for a referendum to extend the voting age to those aged 16.

 Senator Reilly spoke today in response to the announcement that Prime Minister David Cameron is to give the Scottish Parliament the power to extend the voting age to 16 and over in time for the 2016 election.

Senator Reilly said:

“Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that he will give the Scottish Parliament the power to extend the voting age to 16, in a meeting with their First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Downing Street today. Voters aged 16 and 17 took part in the Scottish independence referendum. It is now widely agreed that it was a positive step in developing young people’s opinions and decision making, involving them in the political process.

“The mechanism known as a section 30 order will now be used to give the Scottish parliament the power to change the voting law so that all Scottish citizens from the age of 16 can vote in upcoming elections.

“As I’ve stated before, and as is the position of our party, young people from the age of 16 are capable of making the transition into further education, work or a gain an apprenticeship; are eligible to pay taxes, and go to prison. Why shouldn’t they, therefore, be eligible to vote on the decision makers who affect them, their choices and rights?  At 16, many are already making life-changing decisions and can contribute greatly to society.

“The time is now for this government to name the date for a referendum on the matter here.”

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